As protests broke out early last summer after the murder of George Floyd, brands scrambled to make diversity commitments and recognize Juneteenth as a holiday.
Celebrated on June 19, Juneteenth is recognized as the anniversary of the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. While the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1862, it was not until June 19, 1865 that newly-freed people celebrated emancipation, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce the proclamation.
Last year, brands including Best Buy, Adobe and General Motors widely recognized the holiday for the first time by observing it with days off or corporate statements.
But as the anniversary approaches, brands should be on the lookout for taking performative activion or capitalizing on Black culture.
Juneteenth is about to be—or, is in the process of being—commodified by pop culture in a big way and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I was talking to my dad this time last year and he was NOT happy with all these news outlets/brands jumping on the bandwagon of his heritage.— (@tigrr_intherain) June 13, 2021
Insane how many copywriters, designers & strategists for a lot of brands' Juneteenth campaigns aren't black.— Ms. Johnson (@ItsRobinJ) June 11, 2021
Now watch all these big brands and corporations try to capitalize off of Juneteenth next week— Dr. Bae ⚕️ (@_NellyBrown_) June 13, 2021
Old Navy, for example suspended its Juneteenth campaign, which encouraged Black influencers to purchase and wear Juneteenth t-shirts, after being accused of attempting to profit off of the holiday and Black culture.
But in this day and age, companies also can't just sit idly by on issues of social importance. So how should brands commemorate Juneteenth? Campaign US wants to hear your thoughts.
How should brands commemorate Juneteenth?— Campaign US (@CampaignLiveUS) June 14, 2021